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Wet seal vs Digital Seals

Almosthip

We have been digitally sealing our construction drawings for a long time now and recently had our building permit submission rejected because the drawing (all 4 sets) were not wet sealed and signed.  First time in the last twelve years that I have come across this.

Do you wet seal or digitally seal your construction drawings?


 
Jan 28, 21 11:40 am
natematt
This depends on the AHJ. We mostly digital seal these days, but I know we have had a couple projects in the last few years that have still been wet seal because that is what they required.

It’s funny, I don’t stamp drawings at my current firm anyway, but I still haven’t even gotten a physical stamp because I figure I may never use it haha.
Jan 28, 21 11:44 am  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

I've not seen our office's wet stamps leave the drawer in over 10 years.  It's all done with a png image of one of the principals stamp (we have 3) but our p.eng insist on wet stamping everything.  Because of that, we need to add 2 days to every deadline because they need to send out drawing to the printers, wait for their return, stamp, resend to same printers to have them scanned, then get their receptionist to email us unorganized and rotated pdfs.  All M&E in my market do this dance.

Jan 28, 21 11:57 am  · 
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Almosthip

See this was where I was 15 years ago, but we evolved and for time management issues we went mostly digital. Still wet stamp schedules though.

Jan 28, 21 12:15 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

There was a push to mandate some sort of secure digital stamp last year, or 2... but it looked unnecessarily complicated and required renewal fees to a 3rd party just to keep doing what worked previously. They back down and that discussion went away, for now. I really do hate it when I get secured-certified pdfs from GC and other consultants. I can't just cloud something or drop a quick note on the pdf. Now I now have to remove the lock to permit editing or print, mark-up, scan, email.

Jan 28, 21 12:21 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

NS, as of January 1st we must now do this secure digital nonsense even though nobody asked for it, it costs more, and takes more time. I'm hearing that momentum for a pushback is happening and I plan on getting on that train. It's a solution in search of a problem.

Jan 28, 21 5:57 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

The idea that a stamp that can not be made easily by anyone intending on faking licensure and therefore should be required as some sort of confirmation of legality is asinine. Bunch of bureaucratic nonsense and belongs in the same grave with mandatory 24x36 sheets. 

Jan 28, 21 12:06 pm  · 
1  · 
proto

or that the AHJ has any idea who actually signed the stamp by looking at the signature? ...it's just antediluvian

Jan 28, 21 12:08 pm  · 
3  · 
SneakyPete

I love that word.

Jan 28, 21 12:59 pm  · 
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mightyaa

Actually... One of the first things I do in a litigation case is look at the validity of the license. I know a few building departments that also do this somewhat randomly, but is becoming more common as cloud based and online data becomes commonplace. In some States, the business license is also checked because several require the firm also be registered to practice architecture and name those licensed professionals who are authorized. And yes, I've run across forgeries, expired licenses, as well as technical failures like a registered company who lost their stamping architect and uses a third party firm illegally...

Jan 28, 21 3:26 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

I... know of people who are adept at providing replica signatures. Not that anyone would ever do that for a set of three sets with 150 sheets or anything.

Jan 28, 21 6:10 pm  · 
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proto

@mightyaa, but that's forensic, right? not preventative by a AHJ accepting a set of docs for review

Jan 28, 21 6:19 pm  · 
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The guy I worked for with +/- 40 licenses ...

Every once in a while the office would get a call or letter from the AHJ saying they couldn't issue a permit because his license had expired. Usually a phone call, a renewal check, and a couple of days would get it sorted out.

Jan 28, 21 6:22 pm  · 
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First job I had was mostly doing TIs in strip malls all over the US for various franchisees. One of the first things we'd do is call the jurisdiction and ask them a string of questions about the permitting process from a checklist the firm had created. One of those questions was about digital vs. wet stamp. I'm still amazed this is a thing that AHJs worry about. Don't even get me started on whether or not the signature needs to be done in blue or black ink ... because some jurisdictions care. 

The architect that was running that firm had reciprocity in something like 40 states and there was a folder on the server with all his stamps in different file formats (.jpg, .png, .pdf, .tiff, etc.) in different combinations (black ink, blue ink, handwritten license number, etc.) so we could find whatever the AHJ needed to see for digital stamps. 

Even then, there were times he'd have to fly in from a job site somewhere like in Virginia, to sign a wet stamped set for a jurisdiction in say California, and then fly out to Arizona to measure another project site the next day. We weren't located near a major airport hub or anything so that one set of drawings needing to be wet stamped would make him have to take 2-4 extra flights and drive hours just so he could spend 30 minutes signing a couple of copies of a 20 page set of drawings, which all had to make it to FedEx before the deadline for their outgoing shipment that day.

Jan 28, 21 12:48 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

wouldn't it have made more sense to plan ahead and wet sign at the local so the paper could make the trip instead of the principal? or did the AHJ require them signed at the desk?

Jan 28, 21 1:01 pm  · 
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No, the architect/firm owner was usually on the road and away from the office doing measurements of existing spaces and meeting the clients. By the time the set needed to be sent in for permit he didn't need to be anywhere near the local permit office so intercepting the paper would have been off the table. Not to mention he didn't travel with his 40 stamps.

Us interns were drafting away at the office under the supervision of his unlicensed PM. Usually the firm owner never had to touch the sets physically. He'd do his reviews electronically while on the road, and we'd send them out to the AHJs with his digital stamp.

But on the ones he had to wet stamp, he'd have to do that in person by travelling back to the office between client meetings and site visits which were always on the road. Sometimes he'd drive an hour and a half from the airport, meet us at the FedEx/Kinkos where we'd have the freshly printed sets from Kinkos and his stamp from the shelf in his office, he'd stamp and sign them, we'd put them in a tube and give them to FedEx, and then he'd drive an hour and a half back to the airport to catch his flight to the next meeting/site. Logistically it was a nightmare.

Jan 28, 21 2:52 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

so silly

Jan 28, 21 3:13 pm  · 
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midlander

i like the absurdity of a process that makes owners into professional stampers who must delegate supervision of staff to unlicensed managers so that the principal can focus on stamping drawings.

Jan 28, 21 6:40 pm  · 
1  · 

To that PM's credit, I think he got licensed not too long after I left that firm. Though I don't think he'd be stamping anything even with the license. I hesitate to really even call this type of work "architecture." It was simply space layout planning in order to fit enough stuff into whatever space the franchisee could lease in order to make a decent ROI while still meeting the franchise brand requirements. You could probably write a script in Grasshopper than could handle it. Of course you could probably send the franchisee a camera or drone to take a point cloud scan of the leased space and do everything the firm owner was doing on site anyway.

Jan 28, 21 8:37 pm  · 
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Bench

Correct me if I'm wrong, but i'm pretty sure we've had the (sort of) opposite situation where the AHJ specifically requires digital stamp only. It can be the standard scanned jpg/png of a stamp-with-hand-signature-overtop, but it has to be affixed and stamped digitally, specifically not wet.

Anyone else have that happen?

Jan 28, 21 2:07 pm  · 
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mightyaa

Yes... particularly in the Covid age where everything is a digital submission. So, I put my stamp on it, then digitally sign over that watermark. They won't accept physical copies or a scan of your stamp... only verified digital signatures. I wish they'd just let you digitally stamp the index like they'll allow with spec books... Digitally stamping each page takes longer than my old stamp pad.

Jan 28, 21 3:30 pm  · 
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proto

yes, but it got phased out because it was stupid (in our jurisdiction anyway )

Jan 28, 21 6:20 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

Stamped using the blood of interns should be the new standard.

Make stamps great again, Amiright?

Jan 28, 21 2:10 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Make Seal seal again.

Jan 28, 21 2:19 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

I imagine that's a wet (or slightly moist) seal.

Jan 28, 21 2:32 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Seals?

Jan 28, 21 2:19 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

and that's enough internet for now.

Jan 28, 21 2:30 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

That's a wet seal. Someone post a dry seal now.

Jan 28, 21 2:31 pm  · 
1  · 
atelier nobody

Here you go...

Jan 28, 21 3:09 pm  · 
4  · 
atelier nobody

And a digital seal...

Jan 28, 21 3:11 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

and another world for wet seal... sealant aka https://archinect.com/forum/thread/149984694/show-us-your-caulk

Jan 28, 21 3:23 pm  · 
4  · 

AN wins the internet for the rest of the week!

Jan 29, 21 10:22 am  · 
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Digital for the past decade. 

Jan 28, 21 2:27 pm  · 
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atelier nobody

I'd have to search my house like a cop looking for a gram of coke to even find my physical stamp. (Realistically I'd just order a new one if I needed it.)

My boss, on the other hand, still believes wet signing is somehow more secure and, unless electronic signatures are a contract requirement, insists on wet signing...

Jan 28, 21 2:40 pm  · 
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mightyaa

My stamps... rather than frame the certificates, I just got a old stamp holder to 'decorate' my desk. Most have never seen ink besides my primary CO one for reports.


Jan 28, 21 3:42 pm  · 
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archanonymous

I use my stamp to stamp my books. The inkpad also comes in handy for little art projects.

Jan 28, 21 6:49 pm  · 
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caramelhighrise

When I did more local work a good handful of the AHJ's required wet ink but after working throughout other regions I've seen a higher trend of accepting or even only allowing digital. It's just one of the many things that should be checked when getting ready to submit for permits.

Feb 5, 21 6:34 pm  · 
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I do projects around the country, and every now and then I’ll get an AHJ that requires wet seals, typically smaller jurisdictions.

Feb 7, 21 2:46 pm  · 
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